High-intensity focused ultrasound, commonly referred to as HIFU, is a highly advanced technology used for the treatment of prostate cancer. It is one of the latest technologies that let the oncologists remove prostate cancer tissue with extreme precision and accuracy.
HIFU is a relatively new form of treatment that has not been accepted by all major healthcare providers around the world. This is because of several reasons and every prostate cancer patient must know these reasons before they even consider undergoing HIFU at any of the hospitals.
The following are the 6 most important facts about HIFU for prostate cancer that every patient must know:
Fact #1: There is no clinical evidence reflecting its effectiveness
There is a general notion that HIFU is highly effective when it comes to the treatment of prostate cancer treatment. In fact, several successful surgeries have been conducted around the world using the same technology. But the fact that that there is highly insufficient clinical data in the support of the effectiveness and safety of this technique.
Fact #2: It is not available everywhere
Because of the lack of clinical data, HIFU is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in clinical practice in the US. Therefore, there are no healthcare providers in the US that offer this latest advancement in the field of prostate cancer treatment to its patients. But HIFU treatment in India and many other countries is quite popular and is commonly used for the successful treatment of patients with prostate cancer.
Fact #3: Long-term success is unknown
Just like deficiency of clinical data suggesting the efficiency of HIFU, there is a lack of data that indicated the long-term success of the treatment. There is no clear evidence whether treating the cancerous tissue alone and leaving the prostate gland as is in patients is direct enough to improve their quality of life. Prostate removal surgery, on the other hand, is considered more effective as it targets both the cancerous tissue and the prostate gland and its surrounding tissues. This also reduced the chances of prostate cancer recurrence.
Fact #4: HIFU is better suitable for a certain category of men
HIFU can be availed by any individual with prostate cancer. However, it is believed that it works the best in the case of a certain category of patients. These include men who cannot undergo other form of prostate cancer surgery and those who have had prostate cancer recurrence. In addition, it is also considered more effective for patients who have undergone a previous procedure such as radiation surgery for prostate cancer treatment.
Fact #5: It can leave a majority impotent
It has been reported that as many as 70 out of 100 patients may experience impotence after undergoing HIFU. This is because the minute nerves responsible for erection are mostly damaged during the treatment.
Fact #6: There are plenty of side effects
No matter what is reported for the records, there are some significant side effects associated with HIFU. Some of these side effects include urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction, prostate infection, rectal incontinence, ejaculation problems, cancer recurrence, rectal bleeding, rectal wall injury, and urinary burning.